Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

Aside from having an awesome album title, Kurt Vile’s fourth full-length album is a revelation and a true breakthrough. Expanding on his lo-fi aesthetic and buffing up the melancholy with classic rock riffs and churning beats, Vile finds his voice on this, his best and most accessible record to date. Last year’s excellent Square Shells EP showed Vile developing as a songwriter, but sticking to his Nebraska-era Springsteen sound. On this album, due March 8, Vile is still a somber one, but beefed up production and a sunnier outlook do wonders for these songs. The opening one-two punch of “Baby’s Arms” and “Jesus Fever” set the bar high, and though the energy levels drop off a little from there, he picks things up a few songs later, with the windows-down roller, “In My Time”. In fact, the lines “I know when I get older/I’m dying/But I got everything I need anyway, that’s fine now, That’s fine now/That’s fine” do an effective job of summing up the new Kurt Vile. “Ghost Town” closes things out on a high note, combining his laid back, slacker poetry with distinct chords and a subtle use of harp, that serves as a perfect bookend to the maturation of a talented singer-songwriter.

 

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